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Full text of "My country and my people"

LITERARY    LIFE
country who come for such official protection. . . . It is these students who go in and out of the yamen to interfere with the administration. It is these students who rely on such power and bully the country people. It is these students who make friends with the yamenites or become yamenites themselves. It is these students who, whenever the administration does not follow their wish, bind themselves together in a row* It is th€se students who know the secrets of the officialdom and trade with them. . . . With the slightest rebuff, they cry out, "You are killing the scholars. You are burying Gonfucianists.5' . . , The greatest trouble of a country is made when strangers come together and form a party. These students come from all parts of the land, some from a distance of several hundred /£, others from a distance of ten thousand /{. They do not know each other's names or dialects. But once they have passed the examinations . . . they form a solid, unbreakable block. The mails are full of their letters of recommendation, and officialdom is full of their private requests. , . ,
Ku wrote in an age when this evil had been especially aggravated, but the parasitic nature of these B.A.s and M.A.s, or educated loafers, is essentially unchanged down to this day, when they have been redubbed "college graduates."
Not all of them, of course, are such blackguards. There are in every town and village good, retiring, thrifty and contented scholars, who belong to the oppressed rather than the oppressing class, because they choose to remain poor. Occasionally there are some sound scholars in a town who purposely avoid the examinations and bury themselves in their own learning. It is often from these people or from the more talented and successful candidates that scholarly works are to be expected.
After all, the old scholar is, on the whole, a sounder product than the modern college graduate. His knowledge of world geography is less reliable, but his training in character and ordinary manners is more thorough. Both the old and modem educational systems suffer from the foolish belief that you can weigh a man's knowledge by a series of examinations, which must by necessity be of a mechanical nature, and which must